the weird experience of my weird nativities post

last post on the craziness of my “27 worst nativities” post. a little round up. in the month of december, that post got:
– 68 trackbacks
– 48,108 shares on facebook
– 69,000 likes on facebook
– 530 tweets
– 457,000 visits (just to that post)

holy cow — a half million visitors to one post.

facebook was the machine that spread the thing. but a handful of the others: was first with the simple one-line question: Why not mix it up this Christmas with a shotgun shell Mother Mary, a penguin Joseph, and a s’more baby Jesus?

the multi-blogger religion site patheos had a handful of bloggers who provided a steady stream of incoming traffic (in descending order of traffic):
the anchoress, with the blog title “why does god love us?”
the crescat, “according to my nativity set, jesus was irish, so there…”
the deacon’s bench, who just called it “the world’s worst nativity sets”

london’s daily mail newspaper posted an entire article on their website with a bunch of the images.

It’s not so much baby Jesus in a manger as baby sausage on a bed of sauerkraut in one unorthodox – and fully edible – nativity scene.

In another, it’s a stretch to sense Mary and Joseph when faced with two white marshmallows – and as for a group of cupcakes posing as three kings, artistic imagination is key.

But these holiday scenes are all made in good cheer and, from the especially inappropriate gunshell Jesus to the oddly rustic clay ‘frozen burrito’ baby, all will surely give any Christmas celebrations a welcome talking point.
Celebrating the beginning of advent, blogger Mark Oestreicher has put together a fast-growing list of the worst nativity scenes ever.

Having last year created a list of 20 bad-taste holiday features, this year the list expanded to 27. Since being read by over 120,000 people, however, the list has swelled to 37 – with some hilarious, disturbing and downright off-subject inclusions.
The list, at, includes everything from china kittens to butter figures and even a Godzilla holy birth place.

then, i got contacted by a writer for the ‘weird news’ section of the huffington post. he interviewed me, and wrote this article, which appeared in the ‘weird news’ section and the ‘religion’ section, and was on the front page of huffpo for a while. an excerpt:

“I find the ones that depict the nativity with cats or dogs to be hideously laughable,” Oestreicher said. “Same with the kitchen timer that features Jesus, Mary and Joseph.”

But Oestreicher’s comments regarding the nuttier nativity scenes have made some people cross.

“I’ve had a few sour comments about how the blog post displeases God,” he admitted. “But I point out that this is the same God who created laughter.”

Though Oestreicher used to think that depicting the birth of Jesus with rubber duckies “sucked,” but had an epiphany that helped change his tune.

“These are peoples’ whimsical attempts to engage in a profound mystery,” he said.

He’s even found inspiration from some nativity scenes that helped him explain the concept of God and Jesus to a group of junior high school students.

“I told them, ‘Imagine a giant Lego set and you decide to go into the Lego scene,’ ” Oestreicher said. “That’s what God did when he sent his only son down to Earth.”

south florida’s sun-sentinal newspaper contacted me, and ran this piece first: Bizarre Nativity scenes: Dogs, butter, bacon, Godzilla. Christian blogger puts out tongue-in-cheek Yuletide list. i’m glad they included this:

Oestreicher, who lives in La Mesa, Calif., offers some droll comments but not the condemnation that some readers have reacted with. For them, he has a standard answer: “My feeling is that the creative God who invented fun and laughter smiles with us at these.”

of course, dozens of blogs linked in. but my favorite was when i noticed incoming traffic from author/humor-columnist dave barry’s blog. i have been a fan of dave barry’s writing since i was in high school, when i would wait eagerly for the supplement in the detroit news sunday edition that has his column in it. i’ve read dozens of his books. early in our marriage, jeannie would get frustrated with me when i would read dave barry books in bed, because i would wiggle the bed with my suppressed laughter. she would wake up and say, “you’re reading dave barry again, aren’t you?” so, yeah, i didn’t know that getting an incoming link to my blog from “my friend dave barry’s” blog was on my bucket list. but it sure felt like i checked it off when i saw the incoming traffic from dave (we’re hanging out later, yeah).

even my local la mesa patch did a little piece on it, with a bit more of a “he’s a local!” vibe to it.

as the traffic started to slowly back down to “above normal but not insane”, i got an email from a catholic tv show based in nyc, asking if they could interview me on air and show some of the nativities. they asked me to create my top 10, and the host and i went through that list (i was limited to the ones i had permission to use, but it’s still a good list).

right at the end of the month (just prior to new year’s eve), a surprising link from the national review (an otherwise political magazine and website) brought in another 7000 or so.

all in all, it was simply nuts. and — being fully honest — i’m glad it’s now in the past!

3 thoughts on “the weird experience of my weird nativities post”

  1. Hey Mark,
    Getting a shout out from Dave Barry is on my bucket list too! Thanks for mixing it up with the nativity scenes. It sounds crazy!

  2. well, over until next Christmas at least…I mean, someone still has to do a Barbie nativity…GI Joe…Transformers…

    there may not be a storm of activity next year, but definitely the chance of a cold front at least

  3. actually, i found your site at dave barry’s. i read it every day, and now, i know to check yours, so everyone wins!

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